3 skiers killed, 5 hurt in avalanche in Italian Alps

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MILAN (AP) — Italian alpine rescuers say three skiers have been killed in avalanche in the northern Italian Alps near the French border that injured another five people.

Milan Walter of the national alpine rescue corps says the group was back-country skiing when the avalanche was triggered at Plan de la Gabba, 5 kilometers (3 miles) southwest of Courmayeur, around midday. The dead included an Italian, a German and a Belgian, according to police.

Walter said three other skiers were seriously injured and transported by helicopter to Aosta while two others were slightly injured. The injured included Italians and Belgians.

An official with the Financial Police, which include an alpine rescue unit, said a total of 18 skiers were hit by the avalanche, and many survived thanks to air bags. All had avalanche location devices.

"Today, greater prudence is necessary," Delfino Viglione, the head of the Financial Police alpine rescue unit was quoted by ANSA as saying.

Another avalanche hit two skiers about the same time in Colle San Carlo, to the south of Courmayeur, but Walter said neither needed a rescue.

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